Next time you're planning a trip to Venice, you'll definitely want to plan some extra days in Venice and the surrounding countryside to visit a series of spectacular Italian gardens that you've probably never heard of in the past.
Author Jennie Condie has a degree in Italian and History of Art, and she's lived in Venice since 2002. Now, she's written a book The Gardens of Venice and the Veneto (Frances Lincoln Ltd, 2013) that explores magnificent gardens in Venice and others within a day's drive.
Dominated by water and architecture, you might not think that Venice has many gardens, but as Condie says in the introduction to the book, "Only at first glance does Venice appear the least green of cities. In fact gardens abound and are treasured, from the dankest private courtyard with its aspidistras and ferns ... to the sprawling monastery gardens with their ancient vineyards, orchards and vegetable plots." Throughout the book, you'll become familiar with a tiny, Japanese-inspired garden of quiet simplicity; a wild garden on a Venetian island; and a series of grand, classical Italian-style gardens at villas in Verona, Padua, Treviso, Vicenza, Rovigo and Belluno. Condie's expertise as a historian comes through on every page. She takes you through the history of the region, as well as the history of each garden from hundreds of years ago to the present day.
Photos by Alex Ramsay illustrate each garden beautifully. A lovely present for anyone who loves Italy or classic European gardens. And one other note: all of these gardens are open to visitors, but for some, you'll need advance permission. Condie includes a list at the back of the book that will help you plan a trip.